‘Becoming Collegiate Academy’ Is First HBCU-Inspired Elementary School In Florida

The city of Jacksonville, Florida, made room for a new learning center inspired by historically Black colleges and universities.

The elementary school, Becoming Collegiate Academy, is located in Gateway Town Center and hails the prestigious HBCUs with flags that decorate the entrance.

As previously reported in BLACK ENTERPRISE, Cameron Frazier, founder and executive director of the Becoming Collegiate Academy, part of the innovative school’s mission is to target students in communities of color and provide them with an education in which they are reflected.

According to Local Today, Frazier believes representation matters, and the ABCs in the classrooms addresses that. For instance, the “A” reportedly represents “Alcorn State University,” and the  “Z” stands for “Zora Neale Hurston.”

“We are inheriting best practices from the HBCU experience. That’s why we let our brown bears have this experience early on,” Frazier added.

“It’s very important that our students see role models that look just like them every day,” Frazier said.

“It is extremely important that our students experience it in elementary school. They need to see Black men teaching them academics, letting them know they are smart, building their identities, having high expectations, and surrounding them with love.”


Ahmad Levy, a former student of Frazier, currently works as a teacher and shared that he had his first Black teacher when he reached his seventh-grade year.

“Seeing someone who looked like me as my teacher really inspired me to take a second look at different things to do in life,” Levy said. “I teach now so I can be that representative for our community.”

Reportedly, there are 80 students currently enrolled in the school, and the student body comprises kindergartners and first graders. The school continues its search for educators and is still accepting applications for students as they plan to add a class each year to complete the elementary school grades.

“Our brown bears will one day change the world,” Frazier said. “You will see the big brown bear, and you will be surrounded by nothing but love.”